Game farming and game ranching

Game farming and game ranching


Position Statement
Humane Canada™ believes wild animals should be free to live naturally in the wild and therefore is opposed to game farming and game ranching.

Game farming and game ranching involve the raising of native and non-native animals such as deer, elk, caribou, reindeer, moose, bison, emus and ostriches for a variety of products, including meat, hides, feathers and antlers. Game farming involves intensive, small-pasture production of wild animals; game ranching involves extensive, wide-ranging production.


  • Wild animals should not be concentrated into unnatural densities in confined areas. Furthermore, the handling and restraint of these animals increase the stress already inherent in existing intensive farming practices.
  • Wild animals should not be deprived of basic ethological needs or normal sensory stimulation, as results from de-antlering.
  • De-antlering causes undue pain and stress, particularly if done without anaesthetic, veterinary supervision, appropriate restraint and appropriate post-operative pain relief, and is therefore inhumane. De-antlering is the annual process of cutting off the antlers of restrained cervid males, such as deer and elk, for their velvet. Velvet antlers consist of living tissue with a dense concentration of blood vessels and highly sensitive nerves.
  • Transportation of game animals between sites or for slaughter (which typically does not occur on site) causes stress and may cause injury or mortality. Problems occur for several reasons including: inappropriate assembling, loading and unloading; improper footing; motion; rough or prolonged travel; over-crowding or carrying animals too loosely. Inexperienced handlers and vehicles inappropriate to the species are major contributing factors to these problems. Transporting animals between regions also poses a potential disease hazard for local wild populations. Humane Canada™ recommends that if game animals are to be slaughtered, that they be killed humanely on site.
  • Humane Canada™ opposes all imports of non-native game animals as they pose an ongoing hazard to native wildlife, domestic animals and humans. For example, certain diseases and parasites cannot be readily detected in live animals. As well, animals that escape may interbreed with native wild animals, denigrating the purity of the wild gene pool.
  • Game farming and game ranching, whether of native or non-native species, pose several other problems. Humane Canada™ is concerned that:
    • Poaching may increase, giving rise to uncontrollable killing of wild native species because of the market value of game farm and game ranch animals.
    • Official sanction of trade in wild animal parts may increase the demand for parts from other species, including those already threatened or endangered.
    • Overgrazing and overbrowsing may occur because of confinement.
    • Soil may become contaminated by disease organisms.
    • The migration of native wild animals may be disrupted by large farm ranches.
    • Large tracts of public lands may become privatized or become shooting reserves, thus depriving native wildlife of their natural habitat.
    • Competing and predatory species may be eliminated from the habitat.
Read our position statement on game farming and game ranching.
Game farming and game ranching
Humane Canada (also known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies) is Canada's federation of SPCAs and humane societies, representing the largest animal welfare community in Canada.